The gross value added of the digital healthcare industry in 2017 amounts to € 5.3 billion, which is 51% or € 1.8 billion above the level of 2010. Since 2006, the digital sector has grown by an average of 3.8% per year. Nevertheless, its share is just 1.5% of the gross value added of the entire German health care system. So there is plenty of room for growth …

In its framework paper the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) outlined the measures to “accelerate the digitization of the healthcare industry and support innovative start-ups in this market”.

Towards a better digital health market:

  1. Funding programs to support development and introduction of digital, holistic health solutions
  2. The Joint Federal Committee, the Evaluation Committee and the approval authorities shall establish a transparent way to advance digital technologies into standard care.
  3. Assistance in accessing venture capital through creating a better business case. The Evaluation Committee shall involve companies and associations to define reimbursement fees; digital offers and products should be remunerated according to performance.
  4. Space for experimentation: funding opportunities for studies shall be examined. Temporary and localized changes to regulations should encourage to experiment with innovations.
  5. Investments of the university hospitals in the digital infrastructure are to be promoted with 500 million euro.
  6. Research data, clinical data and data from patient care should be provided and linked for research and patient care. An integrated data room based on open norms, standards and interfaces is sought.
  7. Nationwide, transparent and binding data protection regulations should be implemented in compliance with the EU data protection regulation when dealing with health data.
  8. The conversation with the German Medical Association on the adaptation of the remote treatment ban should be sought. A nationwide adjustment of the ban on remote prescription should be examined.
  9. Uniform standards for telematics infrastructure applications, i.e. for the electronic patient record, should give every company the opportunity to offer a legally compliant electronic patient record.

Faster progress wanted

The pace of digitization in the health care industry leaves much to be desired, according to the BMWi. The HIMSS EMRAM study, which regularly measures the digitization level of hospitals around the world, ranks Germany comes in one of the lowest places.

Sources:

Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy  // Facts & Figures for the Health Industry, 2017
Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy  // Digitizing the Health Industry, Framework Paper, 2017
Chart: HIMSS Analytics Europe / HIMSS Analytics Database, Q4/2017 (data from 1/2014 – 12/2017), Status as of 1/1/2018